After flirting with a perfect game in his last start, Jordan Lyles wasn’t nearly as effective today. But that didn’t stop the Padres from prevailing in this afternoon’s matchup, as the offense piled an impressive eight runs on the Pirates to take the series.
Lyles was okay for the first two innings, but the third inning gave him his first bit of trouble. Pittsburgh starter Trevor Williams led off with a single, and Josh Harrison moved him to third with a double. Lyles retired the next three batters to avoid serious damage, but Francisco Cervelli’s sacrifice fly brought Williams home.
Maybe it was the time Williams spent on the basepaths, or maybe the Padres just got their bats warmed up, but the Friars got back on top over the next two innings. In the fourth, Eric Hosmer hit a one-out single ahead of a big ol’ bomb to center from Christian Villanueva. In the fifth, small ball was the name of the game. Freddy Galvis led off with a single, and A.J. Ellis followed with a double. Manuel Margot grounded out to second, scoring Galvis and putting Ellis on third. That brought Lyles to the plate, who laid down a bunt in a perfectly executed suicide squeeze.
Up 4-1, the Padres looked good going into the sixth inning. Lyles sent the first two batters back to the dugout, but he couldn’t throw a single strike to Colin Moran. Austin Meadows made him pay for that mistake with a homer, and then Jordy Mercer made it a tie game when he sent another one over the fence.
The tie held until the bottom of the eighth, when Kirby Yates had the rare rough outing. He gave up back to back singles to start the frame, but bounced back to strike out Mercer. David Freese came to the plate as a pinch hitter... and Yates beaned him to load the bases. Josh Harrison took the opportunity to put his team on top with a sacrifice fly. Yates got Gregory Polanco to pop out to end the inning, but the damage had already been done.
The Pirates brought in Felipe Vasquez to close the game, but he, uh, didn’t. Jose Pirela led off with a single, and Villanueva followed suit. Franchy Cordero took over for the slower third baseman at first, and Cory Spangenberg came to bat for his pitcher. He hit the ball to Mercer at shortstop, who helped out with a throwing error. That scored Pirela to tie the game, but that was only the beginning. With Franchy on third, Galvis hit a bunt single to put the Pads back in the lead. He and Spangy pulled off a double steal, which set up Ellis to bring them both in on a single, extending their lead to three runs.
Brad Hand made things a little close with a couple of walks in the bottom of the ninth, but he pulled it together to pick up the save and get a nice little winning streak going.
The Padres head to DC tomorrow, where Robbie Erlin will take on the Nationals at 4:05 PM.